Judge Robert Downer Jr. receives Gideon Award

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Judge Robert Downer Jr. received the Gideon Award Monday for his positive work in the Criminal Justice system.

The Gideon Award is given by the Charlottesville-Albemarle Citizens Advisory Committee to someone who helps to ensure equal justice.

Judge Downer, who is currently the Charlottesville General District Court judge, was recognized for his work, namely with mental health in establishing the Therapeutic Docket and for following principles of Evidence Based Decision Making.

Judge Downer said he is honored to be recognized by the committee for work he is passionate about.

"Criminal justice is one of the most important things that we have to do correctly and fairly,” said Judge Downer, “because even when someone finds themselves behind bars, eventually they're going to come back into society and we have to do an awful lot to try to make sure they're successful when they do return to the community."

Neal Goodloe, chairman of the Citizens Advisory Committee said Judge Downer made history in the criminal justice system in the area.

"Judge Downer's work has helped us establish practices in really across Central Virginia that helps us create more fairness and equity in our criminal justice system,” said Goodloe.

Judge Downer said he hopes to serve as a substitute judge and speak at judicial conferences after his retirement coming soon.

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